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Release Date(s)1972 (May 1, 2012)
Jeremiah Johnson (1972) lies right in the middle of Robert Redford's iconic early 1970's acting period beginning with 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and carrying through 1975/76's Three Days of the Condor and All the President's Men.
Directed by Sydney Pollack, the film has Johnson abandoning civilization for the life of a western mountain man in the mid-1800s, a task for which he is little prepared. Inexperience and vendettas with the Indians seem to rule his life and it is only with the aid of an old trapper (Will Geer in a delightful portrayal) who takes him in hand, that Johnson can come to terms with his chosen life. Pretty-boy Redford delivers a gruel-looking effort and the results are a favorite of his efforts for many viewers, including yours truly. Sydney Pollack's direction keeps things looking intense throughout the Utah location shooting. The film had actually been promised to us by Warner Bros. as an early Blu-ray release, but only now has finally made it to HD. The 2.40:1 image offers a somewhat gritty look that mirrors the theatrical experience. Black levels are very deep and film grain is judiciously maintained. Colour fidelity is very good with the odd patches of reds and blues strikingly shining out from the predominant earth shades. Overall image crispness is not high, but neither should it be, given the film's original photographic choices. The audio offers a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that maintains a mono-like feel to most of the main proceedings, while adding in the surrounds to enhance ambient effects quite pleasingly. About a half-dozen different European language mono tracks and subtitles are included, along with English SDH subtitling. Supplements comprise audio commentary by Redford, Pollack and writer John Milius; a vintage production featurette; and the theatrical trailer. Recommended.